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There are a couple different “what if’s” associated with this question. The first would be whether the fully executed Compromise and Release was submitted to a Judge for approval and was currently pending approval. In that case, more than likely it will be difficult to back out of the settlement because it has already been submitted for approval and a Judge will not likely allow the documents to be withdrawn. Once a legal document is signed by all parties, this has the same force and effect of a legal contract. Here, an injured worker is agreeing to a particular sum of money and the employer/carrier is relying on the signed agreement to that settlement. However, your attorney may be able to petition the court to not approve the Compromise and Release based on a showing of good cause, i.e., fraud, mutual mistake of fact, duress, or undue influence.
The other scenario is if you signed those documents with your attorney, but they have not yet been transmitted to the other party, such as an insurance company or their attorney. In that case, you are very likely to get out of the settlement agreement because the other party may not even be aware of the signed settlement documents. Even so, you or your attorney can always notify the other party that you have changed your mind to the settlement agreement before they are sent to the other party.
The last scenario is when the signed Compromise and Release agreement has already been sent to the other party. In this scenario, it is questionable if you can get out of your settlement agreement. The reason behind this is the same as the first scenario above. Once a legal document is fully executed, it is considered a binding contract. Technically speaking though, until the settlement has been approved by a Judge, it is not considered “valid”.
Again, it depends on what type of scenario your situation falls within above regarding whether you can get out of your settlement. The outcome of this question can be very fact-dependent and will depend on the unique circumstances of each case.
If you have questions about treatment for your workers' compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.